If you plan to build a PC on a budget, you might be on the market looking for the best budget PC case for your build. We all know that a case is one of the primary things you should decide about your system. Obviously one of the more integral parts for a system, a case should be selected with peace of mind so you don’t have to worry about replacing it at least a few years down the line. If you are on a budget it can be an arduous task of selecting a decent chassis. As we noted in our Fractal Design Meshify 2 White review, the case industry is focusing more and more on the price-to-performance ratio in recent years, which should play in our favor.
You might want to skimp out on your case and just pick up the cheap PC case one you can find, but you might regret that decision. You need a case that is well built and will not look out of place in your overall setup. Now we might not be able to get premium cases like the NZXT H700i that we reviewed, but that does not mean that we can’t get a decent chassis in this budget. With that being said, finding a case under $50 can be a tough task that is why this guide was created to help you with that. Let’s have a look at the best affordable cases you should be aware of.
The Best Budget PC Case Options – Our Picks
|1||Cougar MX330-G||Best Overall Budget PC Case|| |
|2||DEEPCOOL MATREXX 55 ADD-RGB||Best RGB Budget PC Case|| |
|3||Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L||Best Micro-ATX Budget PC Case|| |
|4||Thermaltake Core V1 Cube||Best Mini-ITX Budget PC Case|| |
|5||Cooler Master Masterbox Lite 3.1||Best Value Budget PC Case|| |
|Product Name||Cougar MX330-G|
|Award||Best Overall Budget PC Case|
|Product Name||DEEPCOOL MATREXX 55 ADD-RGB|
|Award||Best RGB Budget PC Case|
|Product Name||Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L|
|Award||Best Micro-ATX Budget PC Case|
|Product Name||Thermaltake Core V1 Cube|
|Award||Best Mini-ITX Budget PC Case|
|Product Name||Cooler Master Masterbox Lite 3.1|
|Award||Best Value Budget PC Case|
Last Update on 2022-12-01 at 02:53 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Picking the Best budget PC case can be a bit of a challenge due to the dozens of options that are present on the market. However, most of the budget-oriented cases under $50 are built with compromise in mind. These cases are best avoided since they often compromise on critical features such as build quality and airflow. Sure, you might not be able to get the best airflow cases in this budget, but there are plenty of options out there that will satisfy your components’ needs while providing plenty of cool air to them. These are our favorite budget PC cases out there.
1. Cougar MX330-G
Best Overall Budget PC Case
- Great Looks
- Relatively Thinner Than Other Cases
- PSU Shroud
- Mesh Front Panel
- Decent Airflow
- Comes With Only One Fan
- Might Be Hard To Work In
Form Factor: Mid-tower/ATX | Fan mounts: 5 | Storage Expansion Bays: 4 | Transparent Side Panel: Yes | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button | Weight: 5.9kg
Cougar is a great brand for PC components and their products are usually built like a tank. Cougar MX330-G is the tempered glass variant for the MX330 and usually goes for $40-50. The overall design of the casing is quite impressive and is somewhat thinner than the other cases listed here. You get great features like a full mesh front, dust filters, tempered glass side panel, and PSU shroud. The tempered glass is definitely a cool feature in this price point.
The I/O panel provides four USB ports, unlike most of the cases which provide only two of them. The cable management of the case is pretty impressive as well and you can easily hide the cables on the backside. There can be two fans installed at the front, two at the top, and one fan at the rear; not the best but good enough for most builds. Moreover, this means that you won’t be able to install 360mm radiators in this case by any means. The case provides two 3.5″ bays and two 2.5″ bays, leading to a total of four expansion bays. As for the motherboard is concerned, you can install up to ATX motherboards while MX330-G itself is a mid-tower case.
Overall, this case provides a great value and is suitable for even high-end builds, as it provides a great performance along with sufficient features. For this reason, we have titled this case as the best overall budget PC case under $50 on our list.
2. DEEPCOOL MATREXX 55 ADD-RGB
Best RGB Budget PC Case
- Fantastic Looks
- Tempered Glass On Side And Front
- Impressive RGB Implementation
- Supports E-ATX Motherboards
- PSU Shroud
- Mediocre Airflow
- Unimpressive Build Quality
Form Factor: Mid-tower/ E-ATX | Fan mounts: 6 | Storage Expansion: 4 | Transparent Side Panel: Yes | I/O Ports: 1 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button, LED button | Weight: 6.97 kg
Let’s just settle this straight out the gate that this is a really good-looking case. DEEPCOOL MATREXX 55 ADD-RGB has tempered glass panels on both the front and the sides that look really great with LED fans. Moreover, the RGB strip at the front of the case looks extremely beautiful and gives a premium feel. The case supports RGB lighting from various manufacturers like ASUS AuraSync, GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, MSI Mystic Light, etc.
As for the compatibility of the case is concerned, the case supports even the E-ATX motherboards, so you can stop worrying about it. The cables can easily be hidden behind the PSU shroud, which is available only in the ADD-RGB version. There is space for six fans in the case, three at the front, two at the top, and one at the rear. You should check out our picks for the best RGB fan packs for this case as well. The RGB component definitely makes this case the best RGB budget PC case under $50 on our list.
Overall, the thing this case brings to the spotlight is the aesthetics, which is why you should definitely check it out if you value aesthetics more than anything, although features-wise, the case feels better than most of the cases as well. Also easily falls into the category for the PC cases under $70.
It supports ATX, MATX, and mini ITX motherboards. Storage expansion includes space for 2 hard drives and 1 SSD, though there is a mounting option for an SSD on the front above the PSU shroud. The front can fit three 120mm fans or two 140mm fans. There is also room for a 120mm fan on the rear.
3. Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L
Best Micro-ATX Budget PC Case
- Side-mounted I/O ports
- Modular Design
- Magnetic Dust Filters
- Compact Micro-ATX Form Factor
- Airflow Is Poor
- Unremarkable Build Quality
- No PSU Shroud
Form Factor: Mini-Tower/Micro-ATX | Fan mounts: 6 | Storage Expansion Bays: 3 | Transparent Side Panel: Yes | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button | Weight: 3.7kg
Cooler Master is a high-end professional company that designs tons of cases covering a large range of prices. However, MasterBox Q300L is a budget case and provides a very modern design. First of all, the case is built in a very modular way, i.e. you can use the case both in the horizontal position and vertical position because the insides can be rotated easily. Moreover, the I/O panel can be fully positioned on any side of the case. This case might just be the best micro-ATX budget PC case under $50 out there right now.
The front panel has 2 USB 3.0 ports and your audio jack for headsets and mics. It is a mini-tower case that supports both mini ITX and Micro ATX motherboards, although it provides more than enough expansion bays (5 bays). There can be installed six fans in the case, two at the front, two at the top, one at the bottom, and one at the rear of the case. A great feature of the case is that you get magnetic dust filters at the front, bottom, and top which aids a lot in keeping the dust away. You can take a look at our picks for the best micro-ATX cases as well, if you want more options in this form factor.
Aesthetically, this case is quite a mixed bag. Firstly, the case looks good when you initially look at it due to its slightly unconventional design. The side window, although acrylic, does provide a decent enough aesthetic touch to the case. The I/O ports on the side also add a unique case element that is not quite found in other cases usually. Coming to the front, it is quite a weird choice by Cooler Master. The front is perforated metal with a magnetic filter stuck on top. This defeats the purpose of the perforations as the air now has to travel through two different sized holes to get inside, and that is reflected in the abysmal temperatures of this case. Speaking of airflow, you might also be interested in the best open-air PC cases which take completely the opposite approach as the Q300L.
Overall, it is a good case for simpler builds but the thing holding it back is that you can still get better airflow at this price point and the radiator support is not that great in this case.
4. Thermaltake Core V1 Cube
Best Mini-ITX Budget PC Case
- Unique PC Case
- Easy To Work In
- Surprisingly Amazing Airflow
- Great For Space Constrained Setups
- Complex Cable Management
- Difficult Component Installation
- Build Quality Could've Been Better
Form Factor: Mini-ITX Cube | Fan mounts: 3 | Storage Expansion Bays: 4 | Transparent Side Panel: Semi (Mesh) | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button | Weight: 3.22kg
Last up on our list is a mini ITX case from Thermaltake. This is aptly named the V1 cube as it very much looks like a small cube case. This is a very tiny ITX case and the only decent affordable one. It has a mesh design with grills all around. It has a large 200mm fan on the front and you can use a 140mm radiator with that.
It can fit a graphics card up to 285mm which is very impressive for this small form factor. As for storage, it has two 2.5 inch drives and two 3.5 inch drives. Surprisingly this case has really good airflow and cooling. The build quality is passable as well. Of course, this is not for beginner builders as this is a smaller case and a bit difficult to build in for newcomers. The cable management isn’t all that great either because of the limited space. For mini-ITX cases, you should take a look at our picks for the best mini-ITX cases in this roundup.
Overall, we will say that this case should only be bought if you want to do something adventurous and change the regular form factor of your system. Nevertheless, this is the best mini-ITX budget PC case under $50 on our list.
5. Cooler Master Masterbox Lite 3.1
Best Value Budget PC Case
- 3 Customizable Aesthetic Trims
- Dark Mirror Front Panel
- Looks Decent
- Poor Airflow
- No PSU Shroud
- Unimpressive Build Quality
- No Fan Mount At The Top
Form Factor: Mini-Tower/Micro-ATX | Fan mounts: 4 | Storage Expansion Bays: 3 | Transparent Side Panel: Yes | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button | Weight: 4.08kg
Cooler Master Masterbox Lite 3.1 is a relatively new case and comes with quite a style. It has a dark mirrored front panel that really isn’t transparent but looks really great with LED fans. The side panel window is acrylic and very large, it also has good visibility so you can see the internals of your case. The red trim on this case looks really vibrant and this would look great in a black and red build. Unfortunately, this case seems to put form over function, as the airflow is quite bad due to small vents, compared to competitors.
More PC Cases: Best PC Cases For Water Cooling
It supports micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards. Storage expansion includes space for two 3.5″ drives and one 2.5″ drive; not much but enough to support several terabytes of space. The front panel can fit three 120mm fans or two 140mm fans, while the rear can support a single fan. Surprisingly, there is no place to install any fan at the top, which is another reason for bad airflow. However, if you can increase your budget by a bit, you can go for the Cooler Master MasterBox MB511 RGB, which we reviewed some time ago.
Overall, Cooler Master Masterbox Lite 3.1 is not so good when it comes to airflow, however, if your system is not that powerful and you want the top-of-the-line looks, this case might hold a lot of value. With that said, this case might just be the best value budget PC case under $50 on our list as of yet.
How To Select The Base Budget PC Case
Choosing the best budget PC case for your particular build can be a bit of a challenge for first-time PC builders as well as for experienced builders. This is because there is no budget PC case that fits the demands of each and every user and their individual build. Each PC case has its own particulars and nuances that you must learn about and judge whether or not that case fulfills the purpose that you want from it in your particular setup.
The first order of business should be deciding your budget for the purchase. After that, you should decide the size of the case that you want. There are basically 4 types of computer cases out there on the basis of size. Firstly, there is the ATX form factor, which can be labeled as the standard mid-tower configuration. Smaller cases in the micro-ATX form factor also exist, and so do extremely compact cases using the mini-ITX form factor. In addition to these 3 sizes, the case industry is also rife with extremely large full-tower cases, which are now becoming less and less common due to their humongous size, however, those might not be available in the budget price brackets.
Now that you have decided on the form factor, you should focus your attention on compatibility. A PC case should, first and foremost, be able to hold and support each and every one of your PC components. Think about the motherboard size, the radiator size, the number of fans, the number of SSDs and HDDs, the size of your CPU cooler, and the size of your graphics card. You should also think about cable management and aesthetics, since the computer case is a showpiece for your particular build, so it should definitely look nice. Budget cases do often make compromises in the aesthetics department, such as substituting tempered glass panels for acrylic ones, but you can make your own choices there.
Keeping these steps in mind, you should be ready to choose the perfect budget PC case for your build. It might even be one of the best budget PC case options that we mentioned on our list today, or it might be something entirely different. You can also check out our detailed PC case buying guide if you want to learn more about buying a PC case in 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions
Just like with any other product, it is not the best idea to purchase a PC case based on the brand name alone. All brands have made good and bad products, so it would be a wise approach to focus on the individual product in question, rather than the entire brand itself. With that said, there are certain case brands that are popular among general users and enthusiasts alike, such as Corsair, NZXT, Cooler Master, Phanteks, Fractal Design, Thermaltake, and Be Quiet! etc.
On a general note, it is agreed upon in the enthusiast community that positive case pressure is better than negative case pressure in a number of scenarios. The biggest advantage in favor of positive case pressure is the dust buildup or rather, the lack of it. Negative air pressure causes a lot of dust buildup very quickly because the air is actually being sucked in through little cracks and openings in the chassis itself. This might work in the favor of GPU temperatures in certain scenarios, but the dust buildup factor negates its benefits.
Full-tower PC cases are becoming less and less popular even among enthusiasts due to their unwieldy size and weight. They are usually extremely expensive as well, with little to no actual benefits over standard mid-tower ATX cases. The one main benefit of full-tower cases in the past few years was water cooling, and now even that is possible in standard mid-tower cases such as the Lian Li O11 Dynamic. Therefore, we can safely assume that full-tower cases are not worth it in 2022.
The fan speed (generally denoted by fan RPM) does have an impact on performance and acoustics, but not to an extent that it should worry the average consumer. If the number of intake fans in your case is the same as the number of exhaust fans, then the fan RPM dictates the pressure of your case, whether it is positive or negative. Furthermore, fans with a higher RPM ceiling do have the capacity to move more air, thus aiding in thermal performance, but this does come at the tradeoff of acoustics. It is a balancing act when it comes to the number of fans and fan RPM.